Thursday, December 1, 2022

Teaching classic lighting helps game designers create better stories

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Whether you’re a game writer, developer, or just love playing video games, classics are the first and best way to learn how to tell great stories, ones you want to come back to over and over again, by discovering new things inside. them, reflecting where you are in your life.

My students know my passion for literature. Usually my classes at LTU don’t exceed 15 students, so I’m really getting to know them. Prior to this course, I loved teaching two compulsory courses: World Masterpieces I and World Masterpieces II. The first started with the epic of Gilgamesh, included Homer, the Tao, and went up to Shakespeare – I usually taught Hamlet. World Masterpieces II, which was my favorite, started with Mary Shelley Frankenstein and included Ibsen A doll’s house, as well as Faulkner and Yoknapatwapha County, to the present day. The famous Faulkner County was truly masterful in building the world with memorable heroes and villains, so while I taught these classics I was ready to teach new ideas merged with older ones.

Both courses included the visual arts, which in retrospect has helped inform the trajectory of my current teaching. After all, without strong visuals, a video game would be tanking. I also made sure to let the students know about the story behind the stories – Mary Shelley’s personal life and how she influenced her work, starting with her mother, Mary Wollestonecraft, and the brilliant feminist work she did. wrote. It also allows students to see that a work is often a reflection of its time and that our society generally underlies the world they create.

As in the Parable of Jesus and the Mustard Seed, these books – the classics – helped to sow the fertile ground for storytelling in all its forms, including video games. To quote my former student Rachel Devine, “Building a game that players can relate to, with believable characters is imperative, and imperfect characters are easier to understand.” Devine referred to the hero’s journey and how he showed the development of the story arc in Star Wars Battlefront II. “The main character, Iden Versio, begins to fight alongside the Empire – and thinks she is fighting for justice and peace. Soon she realizes she’s on the wrong side and ends up changing course. Even if she doesn’t leave home in the traditional sense, she leaves the Empire and transforms, ”Devine told me.

She reminded me of how important it is to view the perspectives of others with respect and compassion. Most importantly, I recalled the attributes a great leader needs to serve effectively, and how Gilgamesh has become a man worthy of true leadership, with empathy and genuine humility.

Devine, too, has always had a desire to help others and she admires that the character of Iden Versio has the strength to take the plunge and stand up for what is right. Could the choices of a character in a video game influence the player so much that he made a decision that changed his life?

When I asked, Devine replied, “Absolutely! Devine is 21 and she admitted that while Iden Versio’s decision wasn’t the only factor for her, it was one of the main factors in Devine’s decision to change major. She saw how Iden Versio made a courageous choice, and that, in turn, helped fuel her own courage. Devine had studied game design and is now getting into cybersecurity.

She loved game development, but felt the call to serve was more important. It makes sense that Iden Versio’s trajectory helped bolster Devine’s resolve, much the same way Ibsen’s Nora Helmer did. A doll’s house continues to influence generations of women.

Devine also noted that she had developed a skill set both from her knowledge of video game design and from studying classics that could be adapted to create unique solutions for evolving problems in her new. field. As Devine became the hero of a story she was still writing, a video game helped her change her course.

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